New Delhi: Union Minister for MSME and Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has emphasized on exploring Agro MSME, Fishing MSMEs, and Forest MSMEs for manufacturing products using local raw material.
Gadkari on Tuesday was addressing a meeting via video conferencing with the representatives of Chamber of Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Institute of Cost Accountants of India on impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs.
He also re-iterated that new Green Express Highways provide an opportunity for industry to make future investments in industrial clusters, logistics parks equipped with state-of-art technology. He opined that there is need to work on decentralization of industries and focus on rural, tribal and backward areas of the country.
The Minister said that special focus towards export enhancement is required and asked for adopting necessary practices to reduce power cost, logistics cost and production cost to become competitive in the global market.
Further, he mentioned that there is also need to focus on import substitution to replace foreign imports with domestic production. He added that industry should focus more on innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology, research skill and experiences to convert the knowledge into wealth.
The Minister sought support for arranging ideas to develop an IT based analysis system for rating of MSMEs to bring transparency and have result oriented and time bound processes. In addition to this, he also sought support to study best practices in the world to strengthen MSME space in India. He emphasized on importance of time in decision making while calculating cost of the projects.
Gadkari called upon the industry that it is needed to be ensured by industries that necessary preventive measures are taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He emphasized on usage of PPE (masks, sanitizer etc.) and advised to maintain social distancing norms in personal life and during business operations.
He mentioned that all the stakeholders must adopt an integrated approach to come over the crisis while ensuring the lives and livelihood of the people. Shri Gadkari also urged the industry to have a positive attitude during this time to tide over this crisis. He further mentioned that there is need to learn art of living with COVID-19.
He recalled that Government of Japan has offered special package to its industries for taking out Japanese investments from China and move elsewhere. He opined that it is an opportunity for India which should be grabbed.
During this interaction, the representatives expressed concerns regarding various challenges being faced by them amid COVID-19 pandemic along with few suggestions and requested support from the government to keep the sector afloat. Some of the major issues highlighted and the suggestions given included: establishing special tribunal for MSME cases, stopping SARFAESI Act for an year, plan to ensure adequate financing option and mechanism to track efficient utilization, plan to overcome challenge of labour shortage due to movement of migrant labourers, provision for MSMEs considering threat of cheap import, release of delayed payments, restructuring of NPA accounts, removing requirement of external credit rating and CIBIL score for bank loan, temporarily suspending option of making appeal against MSME if any court has given the decision in favor of the MSME, supply chain issues for finished products, applying GST on receivables, arranging documentation (land use permission, fire department NOC etc.) for starting industries in rural areas, not taking margin money in bank guarantee, plan for training on costing, best practices in MSME etc.
Gadkari responded to the questions from representatives and assured all possible help from the government. He informed that he would take up the issues with related departments. He emphasized that industry should take a positive approach and tap the opportunities that will be created when the COVID-19 crisis gets over.